According to Baseball Reference, the average nine-inning baseball game in 2018 lasts two hours and 59 minutes. When you account for extra innings, that means each team will spend in excess of 486 hours playing baseball this regular season.
And you, you poor fool, are spending a lot of those hours with them. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health.
Love and cherish? Ehhh, maybe. If I could use letters to draw an image of the Larry David “meh” face, I’d do so here, and you would laugh, both at the hilarity of the image, and at the fact that I wasted so much time making it. But I have some dignity left.
Since you’re likely to spend hundreds of hours with this team, you’ll watch all of the players, and at times you’ll think “hey, this is pretty fun!” and at other times you’ll think “or, and here’s a good idea, what if I took the lid off the toilet tank, flushed, and watched how that contraption works as the water is emptied and refilled, that sounds like more fun than what I’m doing.”
A lot of times the fun is correlated with wins, and the dreams of a sweet life observing human waste disposal units is correlated with losses. But with 486 hours beside this methodically mediocre team, you have to find pleasure in the little moments.
Unfortunately for you, I’m going to talk about that tomorrow; instead, this article is about the lack of pleasure. It’s the ten least fun players on the Giants to watch. Next time you see them on the TV, feel free to go get another beer, or pop some food in the microwave, or go use that newfangled porcelain contraption you were admiring.
Note: I am only including players currently on the 40-man roster, who have spent a significant amount of time on the 25-man roster.
10. Evan Longoria
Entertaining things he does: Mash dingers, make nice bare-handed plays
Boring things he does: Everything he does when not mashing dingers, messes up bare-handed plays
Verdict: Full disclosure: Derek Holland should be here, not Longoria. But I can’t have too many pitchers, who are often boring by definition, and Holland’s Twitter handle is a fart joke, so here we are.
I like Longoria. I like that he’s on the Giants. But he’s a very generic baseball player on the backend of his career. He hits a lot of home runs, makes some cool defensive plays, and spends the rest of the time just kind of existing. It’s not compelling, though it is (mildly) effective.
9. Chris Stratton
Entertaining things he does: Curveballs, spin rate
Boring things he does: Allow lots of runners to score in highly uneventful ways
Verdict: If you understand pitching mechanics better than I do, Stratton is probably a little more fun. His spin rate is bonkers, and if you’re the kind of person that can break down his mechanics at a level that helps you digest the origins of his spin rate, he’s probably pretty cool.
But for most of us, he’s just a guy who strikes out fewer than seven batters per nine innings, walks more than three and a half, and occupies that strange space where’s he’s good enough to be in the rotation, but bad enough that you groan when you see it’s his turn up.
8. Cory Gearrin
Entertaining things he does: Scowl, growl, and be Rob Manfred’s poster child for pace of play
Boring things he does: Pitch in an uninspiring manner
Verdict: Gearrin’s unfunness, to coin a pretty cool word, isn’t entirely his fault. He’s not a very good reliever, yet he’s consistently asked to be one. If his name makes you shudder, it’s probably because you’re used to seeing him in situations he probably shouldn’t be in.
And once there he repeatedly throws one pitch that, when it’s working, is cool, and when it’s not, is, well, not.
7. Nick Hundley
Entertaining things he does: Hit the ball over the fence
Boring things he does: Encourage the broadcasters to sing his praises more than is deserved
Verdict: Hundley is a very nice backup catcher. Backup catchers are, inherently, incredibly boring. Hundley hits a lot of dingers, and that’s always fun. Otherwise he operates exactly as the Backup Catcher Instructional Guide mandates, from the huge wad of tobacco in his cheeks, to the stocky midwestern frame, to the perfectly round face, to the big swings that often achieve nothing.
6. Mark Melancon
Entertaining things he does: Pitch well, when healthy
Boring things he does: Play for ground balls
Verdict: I appreciate the heck out of Mark Melancon, when healthy. But dude is about as fun of a baseball player as Gabe was an Office character.
Call me an entitled millennial or something, but relievers who don’t get strikeouts are just boring. If I wanted to watch ground balls I would have gone to a batting cage and tried to hit fly balls. Plus, I find Melancon’s mechanics not fun to watch, as they’re funky enough to weird me out, but not funky enough to be interesting. Like Mumford and Sons, or something.
5. Austin Jackson
Entertaining things he does: Run fast
Boring things he does: Generally look like he’s never seen a baseball bat before
Verdict: If Jackson keeps at this pace, he’ll rise (fall?) in these rankings. But he gets a little benefit of the doubt due to his past. I loved watching Jackson before he became a Giant. His hitting approach was always fun, his speed was stellar, and he was good for some highlight steals and defensive plays.
Now that’s mostly gone, and, I’ll have to check Fangraphs on this, but I believe he strikes out more than once per at-bat.
4. Josh Osich
Entertaining things he does: Allow enough runs that it’s occasionally amusing
Boring things he does: Allow enough runs that it’s not amusing at all
Verdict: Josh Osich, the person, seems great. Josh Osich, the reliever, seems lost. Lost relievers are not fun to watch. Except when they’re on the opposing team, which Osich is not.
3. Kelby Tomlinson
Entertaining things he does: Run fast, play professional baseball despite not looking like someone who would play professional baseball
Boring things he does: Hit the ball with a negative exit velocity
Verdict: High ceiling players are fun. It’s great to know that when, say, Pablo Sandoval enters the batter’s box, that he may smash a ball into the water.
When Kelby Tomlinson comes to the plate, the absolute best case scenario is that he’ll hit a seeing eye soft line drive that somehow squeezes past the first baseman, that the right fielder will then misplay and bobble, allowing Tomlinson to take third.
Tomlinson is like those little bags of complimentary snacks they give you on airplanes. Even when they’re good, there’s just not much there.
2. Pierce Johnson
Entertaining things he does: Sexual name, graphic name, complete sentence name
Boring things he does: Pitch
Verdict: If you’ve ever experienced “Pierce Johnson” the sentence, you surely remember it. It was certainly memorable, for better or probably for worse. But experiencing “Pierce Johnson” the player is not memorable.
But according to the internets (note: when googling this particular baseball player, I recommend first going to Baseball Reference or Fangraphs and using the search bar. Do not just google his name. Do not do it. And if you do it, put your safe search on.), Johnson has pitched more than 30 innings already this year. I don’t remember them, but he has nearly as many walks as strikeouts, and he has more earned runs than either, so . . . yeah.
1. Ty Blach
Entertaining things he does: Destroy the Dodgers, have a career .875 OPS against Clayton Kershaw
Boring things he does: Everything else
Verdict: Ty Blach is the living embodiment of a nondescript baseball player. He has a full arsenal of mediocre pitches, and no kill pitch. He strikes out a mere 4.73 batters per nine innings. His 4.04 ERA is neither good enough, nor bad enough to be entertaining.
I mean, I don’t really feel like I have to explain this one. He’s Ty Blach. He looks like a nondescript baseball player. His name sounds like a nondescript baseball player. He is a nondescript baseball player. He is the nondescript baseball player.